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News and Events - Department of Primary Health and General Practice

Call for a new funded palliative care model as more Kiwis admitted to rest homes to die

Thursday, 14 November 2019 2:49pm

Increasing pressure on both public hospitals and hospices is resulting in more patients being “admitted-to-die” into aged residential care facilities (rest homes), which are not typically set up to provide specialist palliative care services.

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Study points to need for care in inappropriate use of stigmatising terms in weight management

Friday, 7 June 2019 10:21am

A large quantitative research study has found using the terms ‘weight’ or ‘high BMI (body mass index)’ to describe excess fatness was rated as less stigmatising and less blaming than commonly used medical terms, such as ‘fat’ or ‘obese’.

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‘Choosing Wisely’ reduces unnecessary tests and antibiotic use, study finds

Tuesday, 22 January 2019 1:09pm

A Hutt Valley District Health Board campaign to cut the number of urine tests being carried out on hospital patients not only significantly reduced the number of unnecessary tests being ordered but also lowered the level of antibiotic prescribing, a study published in the New Zealand Medical Journal has found.

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Pain common and increasing in prevalence in New Zealand

Friday, 30 November 2018 9:19am


Pain is an extremely common condition and increasing in prevalence in New Zealand, University of Otago researchers say.

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Researchers call for end to fat stigma

Thursday, 11 October 2018 1:44pm

Researchers are using World Obesity Day today to call for an end to the stigma which fat people experience in their daily lives.

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Obesity a tough topic for GPs, Otago research reveals

Friday, 18 May 2018 9:11am

New University of Otago research highlights the difficulties for GPs of discussing obesity with patients who are overweight and signals the need for resources to support them and other community health providers in this role.

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Gaps in patient care pathway may perpetuate high rates of sexually transmitted infections

Wednesday, 9 May 2018 10:21am

There are gaps between best practice and documented management of patients diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections in primary care, which may contribute to high rates of infection, new University of Otago research shows.

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Talking about diabetes – improving health, one sentence at a time

Wednesday, 17 January 2018 9:53am

Primary care physicians can improve their communication to newly-diagnosed diabetes patients by offering more information specific to the patient’s experience, new research from Otago, Auckland and Victoria universities shows.

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No smokefree signs at New Zealand racecourses, study shows

Friday, 27 October 2017 12:25pm

A survey of New Zealand racecourses and sports grounds with stands has found no smokefree signs at the racecourses and signage at less than half the sports grounds.

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New research shows NZ children are surrounded by junk food ads

Monday, 9 October 2017 5:25pm

New Zealand children are exposed to around 27 unhealthy food advertisements per day, innovative camera research from Otago and Auckland Universities reveals.

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New study shows General Practices at health training capacity

Friday, 22 September 2017 10:17am

A comprehensive survey in the lower North Island and South Island has revealed that general practices, although crucial for teaching our future health professionals, are at training capacity.

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Professor Tony Dowell interviewed for RNZ Documentary on Mental Health

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 2:22pm

Professor Tony Dowell from the Department of Primary Health Care & General Practice was recently interviewed as part of the RNZ Insight Programme, entitled "NZ’s Mental Health at Breaking Point?"

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Helping healthcare practitioners to work with language interpreters

Monday, 28 August 2017 11:44am

A team of researchers at the University of Otago, Wellington has just launched a unique on-line eLearning module to provide realistic and practical guidance for clinicians working with spoken language interpreters in primary health care.

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'Big data' study shows high impact of childhood respiratory illnesses on primary care practices

Friday, 11 August 2017 2:48pm

A study using ‘big data’ has found that childhood respiratory illnesses, especially during the first two years of life, have a big impact on New Zealand primary care general practice (GP) workloads.

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Turning healthcare around: Health professionals learning together makes for better healthcare

Thursday, 13 April 2017 8:41am

Poor communication between clinicians can turn health care into a bad experience. The University of Otago, Wellington (UOW) is turning this around through an interprofessional education (IPE) programme introduced in recent years for students across the disciplines – dietetics, medicine, physiotherapy, and radiation therapy.

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Otago academics made full professor

Wednesday, 14 December 2016 2:25pm

Seventeen leading academics from across the University of Otago’s Dunedin, Christchurch, and Wellington campuses are being promoted to full professor.

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Innovative Tairāwhiti programme scores well

Monday, 13 June 2016 12:35pm

A new study has shown that a rural health professional programme on the East Coast of the North Island near Gisborne is highly successful for students, patients and the local community.

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Otago study links midwifery experience to survival chances of babies

Wednesday, 21 October 2015 11:52am

University of Otago researchers have found strong evidence that levels of midwifery experience in New Zealand are associated with baby mortality. The study has been published today in the International Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

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Growing public support in the USA and Canada for smokefree outdoor laws

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 10:39am

A new study has found increasing support in the United States and Canada for smokefree laws for outdoor areas, especially in playgrounds and school grounds.

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Unlocking ‘Big Data’ medical information

Tuesday, 15 September 2015 3:25pm

New Zealand researchers have developed a new way of extracting and classifying important information from the ‘Big Data’ stored in hundreds of thousands of electronic health records.

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Otago study highlights at-risk group leaving hospital without contraception

Tuesday, 16 June 2015 10:35am

Women with near-fatal illnesses during pregnancy have been leaving New Zealand hospitals without the contraception that could prevent future serious harm to their health, a study by University of Otago, Wellington, has found.

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Clinicians influence patients’ attitudes to back pain

Tuesday, 12 November 2013 3:25pm

Although people with low back pain consult with the Internet, family and friends for information and understanding of their symptoms, new research shows health care professionals appear to have the strongest influence on patients’ attitudes and beliefs.

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Carl Smith Medal awarded to leading ecology researcher

Thursday, 4 July 2013 3:25pm

Dr Shinichi Nakagawa, a behavioural ecologist who has earned a growing international reputation for his research, is the latest recipient of the University of Otago’s Carl Smith Medal and Rowheath Trust Award.

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Otago lecturers present fresh approach to role of doctors

Wednesday, 3 July 2013 2:43pm

University of Otago lecturers Hamish Wilson and Wayne Cunningham present a fresh approach to medical practice in their new book released this week by Otago University Press.

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Demystifying Addiction – An Online Educational Resource

Wednesday, 6 March 2013 10:21am

A new free online educational resource has been developed by health researchers from the University of Otago, Wellington to help people learn about addiction directly from those who have experienced it.

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Lack of trained interpreter use may affect patients and doctors

Friday, 9 September 2011 11:56am

Two studies by the University of Otago, Wellington, have shown that the use of trained interpreters by doctors and health professionals in New Zealand is inadequate, and needs more funding.

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Acute heart drugs should be reconsidered for Maori and Pacific Islanders

Monday, 23 May 2011 9:26am

Researchers at the University of Otago say standard medication used for acute heart disease should be reconsidered for some Maori and Pacific Island patients because of drug resistance caused by high rates of Group A streptococcal infection, the same infection which leads to rheumatic fever.

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Primary Care and General Practice successful in helping those with mental health problems

Monday, 10 August 2009 12:15pm

GPs and other primary health care professionals can provide effective care to people suffering from a wide range of mental health problems, a new report has concluded.